What SA’s kids need are top-notch teachers. This is how to get ...

Ideas

What SA’s kids need are top-notch teachers. This is how to get them

SA needs to identify its best educators, document their methods, then expose other teachers to them

Columnist

Here’s a frightening reality: the life chances of your child depend almost entirely on the quality of the teacher in the classroom. Children, as I constantly tell my student teachers, are the dependent variable in the equation of life — what they do and what they become depends largely on the influence of the independent or predictor variable in their school lives. This is true for every child, but especially those from poor and working-class homes where a parent might have a lot of love, but not much formal education to compensate for where the teacher might fail. Dare I say, the impact of the pandemic lockdown on long-term learning outcomes and the concomitant loss of instructional time will demonstrate, more than ever, the difference between smart, agile and effective educators — and the rest of them.

We have a plan to solve this problem.

By the end of this year we will have in place a high-performance centre (HPC) for SA’s most talented and outstanding teachers. It is not an entirely new concept, outside education. The University of Pretoria (UP), for example, has an impressive and world-renowned HPC for athletes. Its goal is to attract and develop the most talented sports people, expose them to the best facilities and cutting-edge expertise, and multiply their numbers across the country and continent. The education purist might argue that education is more than “high performance”, and I would agree, but tell that to the tens of thousands of pupils failed every year by the South African school system because of ineffective teaching...

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